What is Lion’s Tail Pruning?

Lion’s tail pruning is a method in which all the smaller interior branches and foliage from a tree are removed. When finished, the tree will have only large branches and small sections of leaves. Some homeowners think this method is a good way to make your trees wind resistant. On the contrary, Lion’s tail pruning is problematic for the tree and increases your risk of property damage.

What Are the Issues Using Lion’s Tail Pruning?

This method of pruning damages the health and structural integrity of a tree. The smaller branches and canopy of leaves help the tree produce food and protect it from harsh weather conditions. When large portions of the leaves are removed, the tree can have trouble creating food. Exposing bark that was previously shaded can cause the tree to crack and dry out. The smaller branches help rain and wind move safely through the tree. When the smaller branches are removed, the large branches can catch a strong gust of wind and break.

When a tree is pruned with the Lion’s tail method, all the weight of the foliage is at the end of the branch. As the tree grows, the weight of new branches and leaves won’t be evenly distributed. This can increase the risk of damage to branches. When a branch normally breaks, the damage is cut back to the nearest interior branch. If all the interior branches have been removed, the new cut would have to be made at the trunk, resulting in further damage to the tree.